Reuters cites an unnamed source “close to the country’s movie regulator” as saying Martin Scorsese’s new hit mob movie ‘The Departed‘ will not be shown in Chinese theaters. The reason? A plot line in which Chinese government agents attempt to purchase advanced weapons technology from Irish mobsters in Boston.
The government apparently demanded the offending scenes be removed before the film would officially be allowed into the country, but the demand was refused. Last summer, Mission: Impossible III had to cut six-minutes of China-related footage in order to earn a stamp of approval from Beijing’s film censors.
According to Reuters’ source, censors believed the Chinese portion of the story was “unnecessary.” What they meant by this, it seems, is that it was unnecessary for the weapons purchasers to be Chinese. Said the source:
“The regulators just cannot understand why the movie wanted to involve China. They can talk about Iran or Iraq or whatever, but there’s no reason to get China in.” [Full Text]
The film, a re-make of the Hong Kong crime flick ‘Infernal Affairs‘ (Êó†Èó¥ÈÅì), recently earned Scorsese the award for best director at the Golden Globes. With Oscar talk swirling around the picture, one wonders if the government isn’t feeling just a bit territorial here.
Either way, the decision appears symbolic: pirated DVD versions of ‘The Departed’ are already available in China.